Bush claims success in Iraq

President Bush said Saturday that while political progress is moving too slowly on the national level in Iraq, positive steps in cities and towns are offering hope for future stability.

The Bush administration, facing a mid-September deadline to report to Congress on progress in Iraq, has long prodded the Iraqi government to finalize a national oil law, organize provincial elections and integrate former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party back into the central government.

In his weekly radio address, Bush acknowledged weak progress in these areas and instead highlighted strides being made at the local level, outside of Baghdad.

“Unfortunately, political progress at the national level has not matched the pace of progress at the local level,” Bush said in the broadcast taped at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. “The Iraqi government in Baghdad has many important measures left to address, such as reforming the de-Baathification laws, organizing provincial elections and passing a law to formalize the sharing of oil revenues.”

“As reconciliation occurs in local communities across Iraq,” he said, “it will help create the conditions for reconciliation in Baghdad as well.”

When Bush announced the buildup in U.S. troops in January, he also said the administration would double the number of provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq. These are units of U.S. civilian, military and diplomatic workers who help Iraqi communities rebuild infrastructure, create jobs and encourage reconciliation from the bottom up.

Bush cited Anbar province, where local sheiks joined U.S. forces in driving out terrorists. Bush said that today, the provincial council in Ramadi is back, and that last month, provincial officials reopened parts of the war-damaged government center with the help of a provincial reconstruction team.

“Similar scenes are taking place in other parts of Anbar,” the president said. “Virtually every city and town in the province now has a mayor and a functioning municipal council.”

Bush mentioned further examples:

  • In al-Qaim, tribal leaders, who turned against terrorists, now head the regional mayor’s office and the local police force.
  • In Muthanna, an overwhelmingly Shia province, the local council held a public meeting to hear from citizens on how to spend their budget and rebuild neighborhoods.
  • In Baqubah, six banks have been reopened.
  • In Ninewa province, local officials have established a commission to investigate corruption.

Despite the successes, the provincial reconstruction teams have been troubled by interagency disputes over funding, staffing and administrative support and security concerns.

“When things work — and they often do at the local or project level — they work in spite of a lack of any meaningful planning and management in Washington, or as yet in Iraq,” said Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, who recently returned from a trip to the country.

“All have major problems in getting any action out of the central government and face a morass of local, provincial and tribal politics. The good news is that they are now being integrated with the military and are getting military support and protection, but it again is too early to judge what is really happening,” Cordesman said.

And even at the local level, progress is slow.

In his report to Congress earlier this month, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction said rebuilding is being crippled by power plant problems, mismanagement, corruption and weak spending on capital projects by Iraq’s central government ministries and its provinces.

And in an audit released in July, the inspector general, Stuart Bowen Jr., found the Iraqi government has refused to take control of more than 2,000 U.S.-funded reconstruction projects since June 2006. That left U.S. officials to turn over the projects to local officials or to commit more money to keep them running.

21 Responses to "Bush claims success in Iraq"

  1. Helen Rainier  August 21, 2007 at 6:06 am

    SEAL and Bryan,

    I still maintain that the ONE thing that will STOP this fricking war immediately will be a reinstitution of the DRAFT with absolutely no EXEMPTIONS WHATSOEVER.

    In fact, about a year or so ago, this is precisely what Charles Rangel tried to do. He himself is a Korean Conflict veteran, and went through some pretty harrowing experiences himself in Korea.

    Needless to say, his attempt to reinstate the draft met with much stiff opposition. We saw what happened in the late 60s when there was a draft and the people revolted in the streets with demonstrations against our government and the protests of the students.

    I still believe, though it might be repugnant to a lot of people, that this is the BEST and QUICKEST SURE FIRE WAY to end this disaster.

    And, we should start with the draft-age children of all those legislators who support this fricking war but don’t want their kids to do their part — especially those chickens*its who crapped out during Vietnam — namely, Bush, Cheney, Rove (he has a college age son). We should also focus on the whiny pukes such as McConnell, Lott, McHenry, Graham, Blackburn — the whole damned bunch — they are taking older people now, so these guys should finally GIVE to their COUNTRY instead of TAKING from it, especially since they refuse to honor their Oath of Office to protect and defend the Constitution.
    ::: Rant Over — Stepping Off Soapbox :::

  2. SEAL  August 21, 2007 at 2:30 am

    The campaign to continue the war is in full swing, now. The Generals dangled a new carrot by announcing they have “changed their focus” to a plan to reduce the number of troops and our combat role in 2008. They say they are negotiating with Jordan and Turkey to move some of our troops and equipment out of Iraq and turn security over to the Iraqis. I’d like to know how they will do that with no Iraq government. That’s the real problem. No Iraq government control of anything.

    Add to this that media coverage of the Iraq war and debate has dropped one-third in the last quarter. Out of sight – out of mind, right. I notice we are hearing more about Iran, lately. There will be other diversions.

    Watch the cross examinations of the Generals before the committee. That will tell you who is on what side. All it takes is a few dems to refuse to defund the war. The staged visits to the “war zone” have provided the justification for mind changing. In the past, I’ve witnessed these congressman/senator visits to wars zones. They were never shown what they should have seen. Only the good stuff for them. I doubt it was any different this time. Of course, safety is the excuse. I see a couple of dems have already offered their excuses.

    Looks like we will have another capitulation by the democrats this September. Why don’t the good democrats learn to play the game? They should bring those soldiers from the NYT article before the committee to rebut what the Generals will surely say. They stated exactly what I hear from my contacts there except they left out some of the more grahphic and inflamatory stuff. Obviously, these guys don’t plan on a military career.

    All the generals will give the committee is numbers and map areas and placating generalities and list successes that weren’t even caused by them or their surge. They will take credit for the Iraqis becomeing so fed up they took matters into their own hands. Successes that have occured by a return to the old ways of tribal rule and control of their enclaves.

    These Generals are the worst bunch of military whores I have ever seen and I have seen a few. The thing that infuriates us vets is that they have sold out the troops. That just isn’t done – ’til now.

  3. bryan mcclellan  August 21, 2007 at 4:34 am

    RE Seal :Green Zone Visits, Won’t Git It. I like you, ask this,Why is there not true representation(The common man/women)on the house floor when it comes to testimony which affects us all? What makes an individual who is insulated from the danger,utterly more qualified than one whose lived with it? To speak of the horrors of war, and openly before the American people conclude, how ,and in what manner said war should be conducted is not a task for the disaffected.How did our right to speak (or better yet) to be heard, get twisted into political and media born misinformation? All the while ,lives and hopes, and the dreams of our brethren lie at the feet of endless war?Bring these men to the forefront and Legion behind them,WE want to know, and we have the right to question.

  4. VietnamVet  August 21, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Seal,

    As usual, another great post! I have posted elsewhere that the days when generals cared more for their troops than their next star are long gone. And, from the current crop, it is not likely those days will return unless they are fired, retired, or deceased. I did not mention “have a change of mind” for that is snonymous with fired. Their stories are always cast in what they believe will better their chances of that next star! What a crop of star gazers!

  5. bryan mcclellan  August 21, 2007 at 11:51 am

    As Seal put it,change in focus won’t buy us a cup of Joe without a viable Iraqi government to take responsibility and control.Why don’t they tell the truth and openly say we are drawing back because we can’t prevent the civil war from escalating…Helen your point about the draft I agree with wholeheartedly especially the no exemptions part.Lets give the elite a chance to share the burden and see how fast they do a 180 when it comes to sacrificing their children.

  6. Helen Rainier  August 21, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Bryan,

    I’m so pleased that the discussion about Cheeta brought up long past childhood memories for you. I remember reading my dad’s old “Don Sturdy” series of books. Don Sturdy was a young man whose parents were dead, I believe. He had two uncles, one a college professor and the other a scientist. They would take Don on their “adventures” with them to places like the Sargasso Sea, the Land of 10000 Fires, and other such exotic titles as those. My dad had received them from HIS parents as Christmas presents.

    How did you like the pictures of Cheeta at his 75th birthday party? I loved the birthday hat he had on, the birthday cake, and the can of Coke! Those pictures make great computer desktop wallpaper.

    I do like the idea of petitioning the Oscars for old Cheeta. There should certainly be some type of recognition for famous animal actors — Cheeta should be recognized first — particularly before he does eventually die — then Lassie, the Lone Ranger’s horse (what was his name? Silver?), Trigger, Bart the Bear (who, alas is also gone now — died of cancer, but has other grizzlies who are being trained by the same trainers — Doug and Lynn Suess), the orangatan (Clyde) from Every Which Way but Loose with Eastwood.

    What other animal actors can you think of who should be similarly honored? I do LIKE your idea.

    Any animal who is able to tolerate working with humans deserves special recognition! Particularly when we continue to insult them by trying to compare them to us — we do them a disservice. ;-)

  7. bryan mcclellan  August 20, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Dear Helen:Thanks again for the link,Johnny Wiesmueller is smiling a mile wide.Ape-Stract art exhibit,holy Tantor ,my childhood days of swinging in the hayloft pretending it was the jungle just came flooding back.We would furiously work to get our chores done early on Saturdays so we could watch Jungle theater on the old black and white in the afternoon,then back to the loft to act out the days episode.I remember Burroughs was my first favorite author and read him many times.I have some of his first editions that were Granddads ,passed to my mother ,then on to me.Tarzan the Terrible is my favorite. Threadbare though they be, they are worth their weight in gold, for the words speak of a time when honor and the dignity of man was held in the highest esteem.Lord I hope our nation will someday revisit those values and recoup what she has lost.Again Thank You and how bout we petition the Oscars for ole Cheeta.

  8. bryan mcclellan  August 21, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Re Helen: Cheetas paintings certainly rival what passes today in some circles for art.I sent the link to my daughter who is struggling to get her talents recognized with the message,if Cheeta can get it done so can you.She has yet to reply.As for others deserving of recognition how about the horse in Cat Balou with drunken Lee Marvin atop, leaning up against a wall with his legs crossed? Now that took talent..

  9. Helen Rainier  August 22, 2007 at 5:14 am

    Bryan,

    I’d say that Cheeta’s artwork surpasses that of Robert Maplethorpe’s or even (I’d probably be bopped for this) Picasso or some of the other surrealists. Never could figure out that type of “art.”

    Do you really expect your daughter will respond favorably to your encouragement that if Cheeta can get it done, so can she? Seems kind of cruel to me!

    Vaguely remember the movie “Cat Ballou” — saw it when it first came out, but don’t recall much of it anymore. However, if you suggest the cat, I’ll go with it.

    This exchange is a fun one and I’m enjoying it! Thanks for going with it! ;-)

  10. Helen Rainier  August 20, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Abdul,

    Obviously, you have a reading comprehension problem, The subject/issue is Iraq, NOT New Orleans. As Karl Rove said yesterday “Nice try” (but no cigar).

    At least stick to the subject if you can’t refrain from commenting. I realize that might be quite a challenge, but give it the old college try.

    We have some lovely kool-aid which you can have to quench your thirst if you are able to stick to the topic at hand.

  11. www.nazilieskill.us  August 20, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

    I always wonder about people with a cop mentality. There was nothing wrong with Abdul’s comment. Everything Republicans do is meant as a diversion of a coverup. New Orleans is part of what they want to hide.

    The basic problem is that most Americans may believe in the devil, but they don’t believe in crooks. Predators like Bush and Rove use their powers of force and fraud to steal power and wealth. Lying is the simplest fraud and of course it means nothing in a moral sense to them. Only suckers look for or believe in truth.

  12. Helen Rainier  August 20, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    John Hanks, Laramie,

    What is wrong with Abdul’s comment is that it had nothing to do with the subject of the article he was posting about.

    The subject of the article was Iraq, not New Orleans. Had the article been about crime statistics in general, OK, but the article was specifically about Iraq.

  13. Bill Jonke  August 20, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Abdul sounds like a shill.

    “Republican” these days is a word that connotes “coverup.”

    The warrantless wiretaps, the New Orleans debacle, the Gonzales’ predicament, The Abramoff scandal, the Foley scandal, the Scooter scandal, the North Korea atomic testing debacle,the Lebanon debacle, the Iran conflict, the Iraq infrastructure scandal, the mining mishaps so clearly illustrate the pattern of smokescreen and coverup that have been evident on the part of the Bush Administration.

    Each and every one of these has been used in some form or another to divert negative sentiment on the part of the previous one. It doesn’t work!

    Anybody could have figured out that as each of these occurences joins the list, they are elemental in biting the Bush adnministration in the posterior, and the only ones who are ignorant are the key conservatives, thinking that the public wouldn’t notice.

    Couldn’t happen to a better bunch of cronies.

  14. shag11  August 20, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Bush needs to stretch-out his arms. They are always bent would suggest, that either he’s playing like he’s a cowboy, and always ready to draw a weapon. Or, he’s exhibiting some type of chimpanzee-type roots.

  15. Helen Rainier  August 20, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Shag 11,

    I must defend the honor of all the good chimpanzees of the world.

    How dare you insult them by comparing Bush to them? ;-)

  16. Steve Horn  August 20, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Actually it might be a nice example of evolution – perhaps George (knuckle walker that he is) just isn’t as far along as those of us who can straighten out our arms!

  17. long_rider  August 20, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Bush claims success in Iraq! How many times does this make? But, our men are still dying over there.
    What is the chimps definition of success?

    “Bush mentioned further examples:

    In al-Qaim, tribal leaders, who turned against terrorists, now head the regional mayor’s office and the local police force.

    In Muthanna, an overwhelmingly Shia province, the local council held a public meeting to hear from citizens on how to spend their budget and rebuild neighborhoods.

    In Baqubah, six banks have been reopened.

    In Ninewa province, local officials have established a commission to investigate corruption.”

    Sorry but, our military was not needed to accomplish these things. So why is he taking credit for them?

    What we have to worry aqbout right now is the chimp and cheney starting a war in Iran. They want to leave the new administration another war to deal with, so they can finger point.

    We have to impeach the chimp and cheney now, before they make things worse. We can ill aford to let these men to continue their course of destruction.

  18. bryan mcclellan  August 20, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Helen and Steve you are killin me.Knuckle walker,what a hoot.I’m glad Tarzan and Cheeta aren’t around to read this. Smirks examples in light of the N.Y.Times story yesterday by our troops pale in comparison to what is happening real time on the ground.The whole region is a cauldron of dissent and hatred with the violence directed at our troops and the innocent.The wound he has opened is gangrenous and will not heal in our lifetime or beyond.Stabilization is a dream only a fool would pursue at this time with these tactics. His grasping at straws has become lame and very tiring. How he expects any sane and reasonable individual to put credence to his rhetoric is far beyond the realm of human imagination.His conduct is simian,hence the label chimp is not an insult but a well deserved moniker.

  19. Helen Rainier  August 20, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Bryan,

    Thanks! Speaking of Cheeta — the real Cheeta (Cheeta is his screen name) is still alive and celebrated his 75th birthday in April. He also has a grandson who lives at the same sanctuary he does. He is also an artist and some of his paintings are available for sale.

    You can see pictures of him (and his 75th birthday party) and his grandson at the following site:

    http://www.cheetathechimp.org/album.html

  20. bryan mcclellan  August 20, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    I,m very happy to hear that Helen,He is a credit to his race and a darned fine actor.Unlike smirk, Cheeta was loyal,never lied to ole Tarz,or took a banana that he didn’t earn.Truly a cinematic giant. Thanks for the link.BM

  21. Abdul of the Kyber Pass  August 19, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    In other news, the crime rate continues to climb in New Orleans. The city still contains large areas of devastation. The population is still tens of thousands less than it was prior to Katrina. And all of this was accomplished with a Democratic governor, a Democratic Mayor, and a Democrat-dominated state assembly.

    We are better of putting money into Iraq than we are New Orleans. At least we are making progress in SW Asia.

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